I love seeing the world, primarily for the time spent with people and the experiences and copious amounts of food we share when with these people. Its a delight, but one rarely partakes in your typical holiday activities, which I strongly believe I’m better for; I count the sites missed as a small sacrifice for seeing our destination through a local’s eyes.
But there are some places not worth missing.
Last we were in Oslo in frigid February 2011, we saw the palace and walked past the building where they award the Nobel Peace Prize. We walked along the ice crusted piers and strolled through the ‘Naked Park’ more appropriately named Frogner Park, but none-the-less containing several hundred naked human sculptures known as the Vigeland Sculpture Arrangement. It was…interesting and intriguing. We even crossed the frozen waters to Nesodden to meet a distant relative for a cozy lunch. We stayed with complete strangers and left with friends and overall, enjoyed this famous city.
While in Englesviken, you don’t really want to leave the comfort of lazy mornings and afternoon seaside strolls for the busyness of the city, but our dear friends and hosts urged us to take a day trip with them back to Oslo to see the Norsk Folkemuseum and we are so grateful. This open air museum is one of my favorite museums I’ve ever been to. As a visual learner, I was in awe that instead of reading placards describing to me how people once lived in beautiful Norway, I was able to walk in and through the front door of homes, farmhouses, barns, stores, pubs and apartments from years gone by. How in the world, they have managed to get all of these buildings on site is still beyond me, but I was delighted. The interiors were decorated according to the times of the buildings with authentic historic pieces. Floors were warped, windows were hazy and I loved it!
The best aspect was feeling a sense of familiarity with some of the oldest wood structures on the museum properties. I’ve never seen any building directly that resembles the Farmstead or the Stave Church, but I’m certain I recognized these structures from pieces of art. I felt taken back in history strolling the grounds and admiring Scandinavian architecture. It was a delightful afternoon.
If you do venture to this side of the planet, be sure to take in the folk art and clothing display at the museum as well. All of the museum’s contents were invaluable in helping us to understand this country that much more.
I can not fail to mention that before we visited the museum, we were all keen to have a coffee and pastry from a famous bakery in Oslo. We were pointed toward this destination by the Hairy Bikers, whom we fell in love with. These quirky brits love to bake, cook and eat their way through countries. Their Bakeation episode took on Norway and their cardamon infused delicacies. One of their stops was Apent Bakeri for some exquisite focaccia bread.
We made way to Damplassen 24-25 Apent Bakeri site (as there are four in Oslo) and very much enjoyed our coffees, treats and fresh squeezed orange juice (they have a machine that squeezes the oranges). The Bakeri is set in a historic building in a very quiet, gorgeous neighborhood; no hustle and bustle of the downtown core. Another culinary victory was found post museum visit as we ripped apart a huge focaccia bread that was light and airy and tingling our tongues with sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil and sea salt. I’m having flashbacks to that grease drenched paper bag… heavenly.
With that said, I need to grab lunch. But first a thank you to the great city of Oslo and it’s residents. Thank you for sharing. I’m sure we’ll be back again.